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Bow before the power of my waffle iron!
May 8, 2012 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Following on the heels of the easy way to caramelize onions, there are lots of other ways to reuse common kitchen gadgets including waffle iron hash browns and crock pot souffle, cooking fish in your dishwasher, using your rice cooker for oatmeal (among many other uses), and making a cornish hen on your panini press (and more from the master of gadget reuse). And to find out what gadgets are just plain useless, you can of course ask Alton Brown.
posted by blahblahblah (126 comments total) 96 users marked this as a favorite

 
This post is incomplete without a link to "Will it Waffle?"
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Dehydrator
• Useless. Why should I get that when I can get a box fan, bungie cords and cellulose furnace filters from the hardware store.


Why on earth would I get a "bowl" when I can just create a small divot in the chunk of soapstone in the cliff that overlooks my apartment? The mere idea of a "bowl" sets my spine on edge. No one needs a unitasker like "bowl". Ridiculous.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:01 PM on May 8, 2012 [47 favorites]


Not to mention I don't own or need a box fan, and they are damn big.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:02 PM on May 8, 2012


My friends made beef jerky in the garage using the box fan method. There was a nice bonus treat when we found the frog that somehow got trapped inside and dehydrated to death.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:05 PM on May 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


Frozen pizza on my Geo Forman grill: saw in half and fold over. The secret is to level the grill so all the filling doesn't ooze out and drip into the tray.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:05 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


My dad gives the washing machine a quick rinse, then fills it with homegrown spinach and sets it on the "rinse & spin" cycle.* He also makes toasts and crusts roast with an actual blowtorch, and washes our potatoes in the dishwasher.

*Important note: does NOT work with very ripe tomatoes.
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:05 PM on May 8, 2012


When teaching my vegan cooking class this spring, I kept stressing "no uni-taskers" in the kitchen, while freely admitting I have two and feel bad they don't get much counter time (waffle maker and ice cream machine).
posted by Kitteh at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2012


I just made some sweet potato hashbrowns in the waffle iron the other day. Shredded big, mixed with a little coconut oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon, and onto a medium waffle iron for a few minutes. Quick and tasty.
posted by monkeymadness at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Alton is laughably wrong most of the time. Asking Alton anything will usually result in an unsatisfactory answer of increased bother, which is ironic as his shtick revolves around making things simpler.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dehydrators are awesome if you a) wish to dehydrate food yourself and b) do not have roaches. Really, really don't get one if you have roaches. It's like a roach motel with an all-you-can-eat buffet.

In my house, a rice cooker does one thing, but like the bread-maker, it does that one thing really well and I eat that thing several times a week. I will never burn rice again.

Mostly, I'm stumped by the salmon in a dishwasher. I mean, ovens are more common than dishwashers, so why wouldn't I use my oven? Of course, I also much prefer broiled salmon to poached.
posted by jb at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2012


For waffles: you can get waffle irons that also make grilled sandwiches. We bought one for a few dollars at a thrift store. The waffle iron inserts have never been used (we prefer pancakes), but the sandwich part gets used all the time.
posted by jb at 1:08 PM on May 8, 2012


The USDA says you need to heat raw meat to 160 °F if you plan to make jerky from it. So the box fan method is all well and good, but you have to cook the meat beforehand and what the hell is the point of that?

Either that or Alton Brown lives halfway down the Earth's crust.
posted by griphus at 1:09 PM on May 8, 2012


The no unitasker rule is a stupid and pernicious idea, and you'll note that notorious fussbudget Alton Brown says he's happy to go without an ice cream maker because he has liquid nitrogen on hand. Which I guess makes a lot of sense if you've got like a big-ass Poland-Spring-style water-cooler full of liquid nitrogen kickin' around, but otherwise What The Hell You Crazy Maniac
posted by Greg Nog at 1:09 PM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Alton is laughably wrong most of the time. Asking Alton anything will usually result in an unsatisfactory answer of increased bother, which is ironic as his shtick revolves around making things simpler.

Agreed. And he didn't say anything about avocado pitters. :(
posted by Melismata at 1:10 PM on May 8, 2012


...a big-ass Poland-Spring-style water-cooler full of liquid nitrogen...

Making my Christmas list comes earlier and earlier every year.
posted by griphus at 1:11 PM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Which I guess makes a lot of sense if you've got like a big-ass Poland-Spring-style water-cooler full of liquid nitrogen kickin' around

How else are you supposed to operate your blast chiller and anti-griddle?
posted by backseatpilot at 1:12 PM on May 8, 2012


Wait, the garlic press is useless why? It's great for us and we cook ALOT. Serious question: am I missing something or are my knife skills just lacking/not being directed properly?
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:13 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do you know what a garlic press is? (When telling this story, I’ve found it is always a good idea to ask.) A garlic press is a device that squeezes a clove of garlic through a grid of tiny holes. Many kitchens have one. This device is hand-operated and made of sturdy metal. You would think it could be put into a dishwasher like any similar utensil.

And that’s true; it can. With this important caveat: you must first take out any adhering garlic fibres, those which remain pressed against the back part of the grid with the holes, or in the holes themselves. The dishwasher will not remove those fibres. They’re too tightly packed against the thing, or something. And during the wash cycle the water will cause the garlic remnants to get all pasty against the metal, and then, when radiant heat bakes the dishes dry, the garlic fibres will be annealed and heat-sealed to the metal until there is virtually no way of getting them off.

My wife was standing over the sink when I came home from yoga the other day. She had the garlic press in one hand and a toothpick with a frayed end in the other. Broken toothpicks littered the counter. She was picking, scraping, and generally scrabbling at the garlic press to remove the etc., etc. She has, in fact, mentioned this garlic-press problem to me before. She looked at me with an expression I have come to call her “death ray."
What I Am - Ian Frazier
posted by griphus at 1:15 PM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Alton is laughably wrong most of the time.

Name three examples.

Asking Alton anything will usually result in an unsatisfactory answer of increased bother

Name...at least one example.
posted by clockzero at 1:18 PM on May 8, 2012


Wait, the garlic press is useless why?

Presumably because you could just smash the garlic with the flat of a knife and chop it up a bit. Personally I buy pre-minced garlic (like this but in a squeeze bottle). It's good for like two years in the fridge, it's fast, the taste is identical if you're going to cook it anyway, and no garlic fingers. I'll buy whole garlic for anything that needs whole cloves or the flavor of raw garlic, but that's about it.
posted by jedicus at 1:18 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait, the garlic press is useless why? It's great for us and we cook ALOT. Serious question: am I missing something or are my knife skills just lacking/not being directed properly?

RolandofEld: I've gone back and forth on the garlic press several times in my culinary life. Minced garlic is probably better in terms of flavor, but the time savings of a garlic press is considerable.

As far as cleaning it goes, some of them have a little cleaning device that you can press through the holes. If you don't have one of those, it's really not that tough to scrape it out with your finger, either before or after it dries.
posted by gauche at 1:18 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I am totally making waffle hash browns this weekend. OMG.
posted by gauche at 1:19 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


As far as cleaning it goes, some of them have a little cleaning device that you can press through the holes

This one, for example, has little plastic nubs that push the garlic fibers out of the holes quite easily.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:21 PM on May 8, 2012


I have never understood Alton's hatred for the pastry bag and his insistence on using a plastic bag for exactly the same purpose. Maybe it's a cleanup issue?

On the other hand, his documentaries about riding the roads on a motorcycle and eating local cuisine were amazing and they probably deserve a better DVD transfer.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:22 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yea, ours has the cleaning device built into it such that you can swing it open and close it wrong-side-out, cleaning is such a breeze that I've never even considered putting it into the dishwasher.

I guess I'm just sold on the whole press idea. Power to those who wish to dirty a knife and cutting board and actually have to think during that part of the recipe. I'm good. You're good. We're all garlicy and good.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:22 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I watched and enjoyed Good Eats from the very beginning to the very end. But it definitely feels like at some point along the way, he realized that the Crazy Mad Scientist Cook thing was appealing to people, and by the time the show ended, he was more of a fictional character playing it for laughs, a la Colbert.
posted by jbickers at 1:25 PM on May 8, 2012


My wife was standing over the sink when I came home from yoga the other day. She had the garlic press in one hand and a toothpick with a frayed end in the other. Broken toothpicks littered the counter. She was picking, scraping, and generally scrabbling at the garlic press to remove the etc., etc. She has, in fact, mentioned this garlic-press problem to me before. She looked at me with an expression I have come to call her “death ray."

Jeez, who are these people and what the heck kind of a crazy garlic press do they own that needs this much attention? I have the cheapest kind of press one can buy at a Mexican grocery and cleaning it takes me all of 2 seconds. A salad fork is just the right size to remove the remains of the clove in one piece, and a quick rinse removes any remaining material. The press came with a little plastic piece designed to clean it, but I can't remember the last time I've ever had to use it.

Maybe these people are squeezing way too hard? It's garlic, just press another clove if you want more, there's no need to squeeze the stuff into an impenetrable mass!
posted by TungstenChef at 1:26 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can attest to the deliciousness of oatmeal cooked in a rice cooker. Make it with vanilla almond milk and steel cut oatmeal. Top with shaved almonds and sliced pear. Soooooo good.
posted by lucidprose at 1:27 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ive been using my waffle iron (post making waffles) to make, as my kids call it, waffle eggs. Scramble eggs, add some milk and some shredded cheese. Yum.
The eggs get all puffy and fluffy from the milk.
posted by ShawnString at 1:28 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait, scrambled eggs in a waffle iron... with milk.... and cheese? Tell me more.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:29 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Asking Alton anything will usually result in an unsatisfactory answer of increased bother

Name...at least one example.


That weird turkey-lowering rig he had that involved a stepladder, a pulley, and a rope, among other things, that was designed to allow you to lower a turkey into a deep fat fryer from over six feet away, for safety's sake.

I mean, I can think of people who'd need it, but many voting adults know how to work around hot fat. I sincerely thought, when I was watching it the first time, that he was exaggerating to be funny - and only after a few minutes did I realize "wait, he's....he's serious?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:30 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm intrigued because I have a cast iron waffle iron that you heat up on the stove... this seems like it would be... let's just say difficult in my waffle iron.

Making waffles is a exercise in agility and hot cast iron handling, but they're sooo crispy and good.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:30 PM on May 8, 2012


jedicus, I used to think that that pre-minced garlic tasted pretty much the same as fresh-minced garlic. I switched to using only fresh garlic for a while, and I have decided it's totally worth the effort. Maybe we just have different tastes, but I find the pre-minced stuff pretty bleak nowadays.
posted by Scientist at 1:30 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Alton is laughably wrong most of the time.

I don't know that he's technically wrong, but he often seems to go just a little too far trying to prove a point.

No, I will not use a stainless steel bowl to make popcorn. I have one of those crank popcorn makers. I realize it is a unitasker but I own it and use it because a) I like popcorn and b) I am not an idiot.

No, I will not set up the ironing board when I make ravioli. I can manage with my counter or table just fine because I am not an idiot.

No, I will not set up a crane in my back yard when I go to deep fry a turkey. I'm sure deep fried turkey is delicious but so is roast turkey, thank you very much.

Also, I love him to death, he's done more for home cooks than just about anyone else, but the man wears gloves when he touches meat. He's like Bab's from Animal House.

I agree about the garlic press being sorta useless and more trouble than it's worth. I just use the side of the knife and then give it a quick chop if I need it minced finer.
posted by bondcliff at 1:30 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I just use my mini food processor instead of a garlic press. It makes equally small garlic bits and it doesn't necessitate the purchase of an extra tool.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:31 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, also not sold on the utility of garlic presses. Most of the work in mincing garlic is in the peeling, not the actual chopping. Does a garlic press somehow obviate the need to peel the garlic?
posted by Scientist at 1:32 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You win this round, advances in garlic press technology since my mother bought the one I have in my apartment sometime during the 1980s in the Soviet Union.
posted by griphus at 1:33 PM on May 8, 2012


The rig for the turkey was there because hot oil and cold turkeys == fire, burns, and lawsuits.

I imagine it's the only way the network would let him film the episode, and even then I doubt it's worth the effort. I was walking my dog last year and I watched three guys splatter flaming oil all over their driveway as they dropped a turkey into a pot of oil, beers in hand.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:37 PM on May 8, 2012


Yeah, also not sold on the utility of garlic presses. Most of the work in mincing garlic is in the peeling, not the actual chopping. Does a garlic press somehow obviate the need to peel the garlic?

Yes! You put the whole clove in, peel and all, and it squeezes out the garlic pulp. It also works for ginger, put a chunk in and it squeezes out all of the flavorful juice, while leaving the fibers.
posted by TungstenChef at 1:37 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Naturally, in Soviet Russia they didn't really need garlic presses since garlic pressed you.
posted by miyabo at 1:37 PM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah, also not sold on the utility of garlic presses. Most of the work in mincing garlic is in the peeling, not the actual chopping. Does a garlic press somehow obviate the need to peel the garlic?

Peeling garlic is the easiest thing in the world. Just give it the ol' smashy smashy.
posted by Think_Long at 1:37 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love that this has become a debate about the utility (or lack thereof) of garlic presses.

Personally, I rarely use one, but my fiancee uses it pretty much anytime that she needs her garlic REALLY well minced. It's a bit quicker and easier than using a knife, and it's not really that hard to clean, despite what the Ian Frazier quote upthread would suggest.
posted by asnider at 1:38 PM on May 8, 2012


I peel the garlic before I put it in the press but that's, to me, a non-issue either way because the time saver seems to be in the press's ability to instantly, and without thought/focus/knife skill usage, produce garlic that's ready to throw into a recipie.

My knife skills are ok-to-good and I can chop/dice an onion no problem but mincing is just... kinda hair raising and not so fun. If I can get that in <1 second with no thought, it's a win. I have used some that were awful to clean and/or didn't press effectively and that completely invalidates their usefulness I'll admit.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:38 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That crock-pot souffle recipe is actually more complicated? Regular method has you put the souffle in the oven, crock-pot method involves boiling water, then adding boiling water+souffle to crockpot. How is that simpler? And it'll be steamed, so you won't get the crusty top either.
posted by Runes at 1:39 PM on May 8, 2012


Most of the work in mincing garlic is in the peeling, not the actual chopping.

I have pretty good kitchen knife skills, and I can peel in a snap (using the "crush the garlic using the flat of a chef's knife" method) but mincing takes forever relative to 1) put clove into garlic press; 2) press garlic press; 3) there is no step three.

I do peel it before pressing, but maybe I'll explore other methods.
posted by gauche at 1:39 PM on May 8, 2012


Yea, peeling is easy.

I'm sorry for the side track, but....

No wait, I'm not sorry. DERAIL ON!
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:40 PM on May 8, 2012


I find that this twisty-style of plastic garlic press works well.

Smash the cloves with the outside, then twist the cloves inside. Sometime I put some chopped ginger or herbs in there too, sort of like a mortar and pestle.

Cleans up pretty easy– no holes to get stuff caught in, though some ends up in the teeth. It's lasted a few years already, where most of my regular presses have snapped their neck on a hard clove, or fall apart after a lot of dishwashings.
posted by bendybendy at 1:40 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Alton is laughably wrong most of the time.
>Name three examples.
Asking Alton anything will usually result in an unsatisfactory answer of increased bother
>Name...at least one example.


Man, I was a big, BIG fan of Alton Brown until I caught a Good Eats featuring Eggs Benedict from one of the later seasons. It seemed that there was so much fussy bullshit in that episode, it retroactively ruined the show for me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:41 PM on May 8, 2012


The rig for the turkey was there because hot oil and cold turkeys == fire, burns, and lawsuits. I imagine it's the only way the network would let him film the episode, and even then I doubt it's worth the effort.

Well, as I brought up the turkey rig in response to the challenge to name one example where Alton came up with an idea that "increased bother", then I'd say, "challenge met."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:41 PM on May 8, 2012


How to peel garlic in less than 10 seconds.

I prefer preminced garlic unless garlic is the main ingredient, but I'm lazy sometimes.
posted by Casuistry at 1:41 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually have another unitasker -- one o' them silicone tubes that literally cost me a dollar and takes up the amount of space in a drawer that a fork does -- for peeling garlic. I find it super-useful, given the amount of fresh garlic I peel, because I put garlic in EVERYTHING, because of my SPICY MEDITERRANEAN BLOOD which is something that Mr. "Alton Brown" probably doesn't know anything about that's right Alton I just made this about race come at me bro
posted by Greg Nog at 1:42 PM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


I have never understood Alton's hatred for the pastry bag and his insistence on using a plastic bag for exactly the same purpose. Maybe it's a cleanup issue?

That's one of the things I disagree with him on. I've tried that a few times and the bag always blows out on me. Zip top bags just aren't built to take a lot of pressure, especially when you've already snipped a corner, giving the tear a handy place to start.
posted by jedicus at 1:42 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just give it the ol' smashy smashy.

Much like the "two bowls" method that was on Metafilter a while back, the ol' smashy smashy works well when the garlic is in that perfect state where it's easy to peel no matter what. In such cases just about any method will work, including just squeezing it between your fingers and peeling it.

But yeah, I give it a slight whack with the knife, peel it, then smash it with the knife. If I'm at the point where I need fresh garlic I've already got a dirty knife and board anyway.
posted by bondcliff at 1:42 PM on May 8, 2012


I find that this twisty-style of plastic garlic press works well.

Yeah, but all your weed tastes like garlic afterward.
posted by griphus at 1:43 PM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


...wait that would actually be awesome.
posted by griphus at 1:44 PM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


A good garlic press will smash a whole clove, peel and all, squeezing the juicy bits out and retaining the peel in the hopper. When you pull the peel out of the press, it pulls out most of the clinging bits of garlic from those tiny holes. A quick rinse will flush out the rest. It's really not a big deal unless the garlic press dries with the husk or juicy bits in place --- and even then, if you soak it for a bit in a glass of water, they loosen up again, no problem.

Because I use ginger so infrequently that it molds in the fridge, I got into the habit of throwing stems of ginger into the freezer --- which is how I discovered that the pulp from a chunk of thawed ginger can be squeezed through a garlic press to add to stir-fries. The press retains the strings but presses all the pulp and fragrant ginger juice into the pan.
posted by Elsa at 1:49 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, I was a big, BIG fan of Alton Brown until I caught a Good Eats featuring Eggs Benedict from one of the later seasons.

The day he put raisins in his pot roast was the day he lost me forever. I know he never claims to be a chef, and for that reason i can forgive him for a lot of his recipes, knowing that recipes aren't the point of his show, but he fucking put RAISINS in a pot roast.

He broke my heart that day. It was as if the Mythbusters guys said "Myth confirmed, because God has a plan for us all."
posted by bondcliff at 1:49 PM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Because I use ginger so infrequently that it molds in the fridge, I got into the habit of throwing stems of ginger into the freezer --- which is how I discovered that the pulp from a chunk of thawed ginger can be squeezed through a garlic press to add to stir-fries. The press retains the strings but presses all the pulp and fragrant ginger juice into the pan.

Try this instead: peel those stems of ginger, throw 'em in the food processor and chop until they're near-puree. Then stuff the pureed ginger into ice cube trays and freeze - then pop out the cubes, dump 'em in a freezer bag, and voila, pre-minced ginger. One cube is usually about an inch-and-a-half's stem of ginger.

If you do a lot of ginger-and-garlic marinades, throw a couple cloves of garlic in there as well and proceed as above; one cube = what you need of ginger and garlic for most recipes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:52 PM on May 8, 2012 [17 favorites]


At least Alton tends to put the right amount of spice and seasonings on things half the time unlike Mr. Bittman who either has the most sensitive tongue on earth or is still wary around this newfangled "pepper" concept.
posted by The Whelk at 1:55 PM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile, a hardbound copy of How To Cook Everything makes a perfectly serviceable garlic press.
posted by griphus at 1:59 PM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I thought so too, Whelk, but someone pointed out that Bittman is geared more towards the timid-about-cooking; Alton is more for the already-adventurous. Bittman's recipes are meant to be templates that you taste and then decide, "Huh, this needs a little bit more of some kind of spice, let me experiment on my own and decide," where Alton is meant to be "this is the Platonian Ideal of [dish]".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:00 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, I will not set up a crane in my back yard when I go to deep fry a turkey. I'm sure deep fried turkey is delicious but so is roast turkey, thank you very much.


I just watched that one with my son, I'm pretty sure Alton is anti deep-fried turkey. One of my favorite things about Good Eats was how often Shirley Corriher, author of two of my favorite cook-books appears.

The day he put raisins in his pot roast was the day he lost me forever. I know he never claims to be a chef, and for that reason i can forgive him for a lot of his recipes, knowing that recipes aren't the point of his show, but he fucking put RAISINS in a pot roast.

Do you know what happens when you put raisins in stock for several hours over low heat? Grapes filled with meat juice. Dried fruit with roasts and in stew goes back hundreds of years, because it's yummy. Very Very yummy.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:01 PM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Elsa: I got into the habit of
1
. throwing stems of ginger into the freezer
2. thawed ginger can be squeezed through a garlic press


EmpressCallipygos: Try this instead:
1. peel those stems of ginger,
2. throw 'em in the food processor and chop until they're near-puree.
3. Then stuff the pureed ginger into ice cube trays and freeze -
4. then pop out the cubes, dump 'em in a freezer bag, and voila, pre-minced ginger
.

Garlic press ftw.
posted by headnsouth at 2:05 PM on May 8, 2012


At least Alton tends to put the right amount of spice and seasonings on things half the time

It took us a couple of recipes to realize that Brown must use a different brand of kosher salt than we do (Morton). If we follow his seasoning directions we invariably get horribly over-salted food. Now we cut his salt recommendation by half and it seems to work about right. One more reason I wish American recipes were done by weight instead of volume.
posted by jedicus at 2:06 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Considering the turkey rig: Like somebody said up-thread, cold turkey into hot oil on an open flame is damned dangerous. However, if a person is concerned enough to even consider that crazy setup to lower the turkey into the oil, they are also the kind of person who will make sure that the turkey is in the right state for the oil, the oil will not overflow, and have fire quenchers ready. In other words, the very people who don't need the rig.

When you have filmed as many episodes as Alton Brown has, you run thin on ideas and some are bound to be silly. I think that Alton shines, not in what he exactly says in each and every episode, but in the way he encourages you to think about cooking and the tools you use to make it happen. He encourages kluges, which leads to innovation and a greater understanding of what is really going on. When you dig deeper and understand the process, you can throw out the useless ceremony and keep what works.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:06 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I mean, I can think of people who'd need it, but many voting adults know how to work around hot fat.

You know what happens when enough water hits 450F oil? Forex, there's some water in the cavity of the bird? Or you slip putting into the oil, it splashes oil out, which then ignites almost instantly?

Given your average turkey fryer -- absolutely none of which have a UL rating -- I think, if anything, he was too careless with that rig. If you're lucky, it only tips over and coats your driveway in oil. Good luck parking there.

If you want to deep fry a turkey, get rid of that stand and make a stand that won't tip over *and* holds the pot so it won't tip over. Then be careful putting the turkey in the fryer -- it *must* be thawed and it *must not* have any water in the body cavity. Don't believe me? Watch the MythBusters episode where 4oz of water hits a pan of oil. No, the fireball didn't reach 30' into the air. It did reach 20'.

And, for fucks sake, set it up outside and away. Oh, it's a bad thing if it starts raining, but while you might screw up your lawn, you won't lose your house. If you think it might rain, better have something over the pot -- like a sunshade tent. And, yeah -- make sure the tank of propane is well away, so you can turn it off without having to walk into the fire.

Yes, all of these things have happened, repeatedly, with turkey fryers. And, while it's rare, you can manage to BLEVE a propane tank. The whole neighborhood notices when you pull that trick off.*

I've played with some very seriously dangerous stuff in my life, and I have 10 fingers and 2 eyeballs still because I'm careful to make sure I'm in the right place with the right gear so that if I actually do screw up, I'm okay. And I won't touch a stock turkey fryer, even with Alton Brown's rig. The damn things are just built to fail, and fail is "Many gallons of oil, close to the flashpoint, hitting an open flame."

Forex, in a restaurant with a deep fryer -- have you actually looked at how large the fire suppression system is?


* It's hard to make the small 20lb propane tanks BLEVE, they do have a vent and the vent size to volume is large. But if the vent fails (say, because your tank is rusted) or the temp rises too fast, they can. Note the jet-like roar in the 2nd video -- that's the gas venting into the fire. Note how it wasn't able to prevent the BLEVE.
posted by eriko at 2:08 PM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


I actually want a garlic grating plate. I saw one once - the salesman had a pitch that was too aggressive and so I didn't buy it (I hate being pressured) but I've thought about it since and now I want one.
posted by jb at 2:14 PM on May 8, 2012


Total derail here. I have always wondered people intent on frying their turkey don't butcher it into parts. Much safer and most people don't carve at the table anymore anyway. Also, you can assemble the parts back into a turkey, practically, like Julia Child shows. Ok, Alton Brown, waffle irons, dehydrator, yadda yadda.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:19 PM on May 8, 2012


a hardbound copy of How To Cook Everything makes a perfectly serviceable garlic press.

Considering that every recipe I've tried from that book has failed me (and Anna agrees), that may be the best use for it.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:24 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dunno, if I'm cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving (which, let's be honest, is the only time I cook a whole turkey) then I really want to be able to display the cooked bird on a platter. I'll either carve it at the table or carve it piece-by-piece for people's plates.

As Alton says: "You want to serve up an American Icon, not a jigsaw puzzle."

Also, while I've fried a turkey before, there's really no need when Alton's brining and roasting method gives such a juicy, flavorful bird. Except for the fun of deep frying an entire turkey, I mean. The danger is part of the thrill. The main thing I recommend is having two people hold onto the bird and lower it into the fat as a team, to reduce the chance of dropping it.
posted by Scientist at 2:25 PM on May 8, 2012


That Ian Frazier bit is funny, but all you really need to do to clean a garlic press is rinse it thoroughly immediately after use. It's like cleaning a paintbrush. If you wait too long, you're going to have a bad time.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:26 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


My last apartment did not have a kitchen. It was a very small rectangle that had, at the far end, a stove, a fridge, and a sink, with no counter space and no utensil drawers and precious few cabinets.

I added a small kitchen cart just so I could have somewhere to put my forks, but even so, my storage space quickly overflowed with a mixing bowl, a cookie sheet, a muffin tin, and the other kitchen essentials. (Plus the dinosaur cookie cutters I got as a present and can't bear to get rid of.) So: I am immensely grateful to Alton Brown and his loathing of unitaskers, for teaching me that you don't actually need all that many different little kitchen gadgets.

(And I concur with the thumbs-up for stick blenders. One potato-leek soup on a rainy day justifies the purchase price all by itself.)
posted by Jeanne at 2:41 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yep, I love making hot cereal in my rice cooker. I have actually never made rice in it. Oh dear. Quinoa is great too. I am going to try the caramelizing onions. I even have a huge Costco bag of them.

About Alton Brown: I watched him make guacamole once. It was truly disappointing. That said, I have never seen anyone make weirder food than when Two Fat Ladies tried making Mexican food. Uh, there are no words to describe it...
posted by annsunny at 2:59 PM on May 8, 2012


I have to admit, there's always been a bit of this separated-at-birth thing going on between Alton Brown and Thomas Dolby. Right down to the synthesizer intro.
posted by gimonca at 3:00 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alton, here's why you are so very wrong on the first three devices:

1) Ice Cream Maker
I own and have gifted the maker pictured may times, and have gotten amazing thank you notes years later for how much it is loved. If you don't make ice cream or the like, then useless. If you do, or want to, these are great. He's on crack about the parts. There are exactly 4. The machine base, the machine clear top, the freezing bowl, and a spatula piece. All fit together and are HARD to lose.

2) Garlic Press

Mincing v what a normal person has time for. Enough said.

3) Electric Knife Sharpener
The good brand (such as the one pictured) sharpens knives extremely well made and do a sharpen better in 3 minutes than almost all home and professional chefs can do in 1-2 hours using stones. If you don't know what you are doing when working by hand, you are going to do damage to your knives. If you have a lot of cash and knives worth the TLC, send them in to be professionally sharpened. Otherwise, the good Chef's Choice models are widely known and used. They are also rated by all kinds of groups including the Test Kitchen.

Now, I would actually suggest that for the stick blender and the Margarita Machine, you are best replacing them both with a good general blender (Vitamix or the like). The stick blenders don't tend to work well enough in my opinion.

I totally agree on the dehydrator having tried both a machine and exactly what Alton describes. I did better with the fan and the filter - actually, I use a baker's cooling rack on top of the filter on top of the fan.
posted by Muddler at 3:07 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are some unitaskers that are frivolous but make life absurdly easy (read: you can have my salad scissors when you pry them from my cold dead hands).

Although I'll admit we've used our food dehydrator exactly three times.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:17 PM on May 8, 2012


I can't watch any Alton Brown meat episodes with my brother-in-law who is a butcher. He basically just yells at the TV the entire time "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG ALTON!".

Unless baking is involved I'm a pretty bad judge of recipe bookd because of my tweak-as-you-go process, and the end result almost never resembles the original ingredient list (two tablespoons of butter? nah, better double it, and I'm browning that shit first. what's this, chili powder? better add some smoked hot Spanish paprika too...ahh that's the stuff...ooh and maybe some of this excellent looking cumin I just roasted in the browned butter, ah yeah-what's wrong honey? No no, I am following the recipe, I swear! I just added some "flair"). This is why, probably, I enjoy using Bittman's How to Cook Everything but my by-the-book wife does not.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:19 PM on May 8, 2012


I'm making that cilantro hash brown recipe in my waffle iron right now. I will report my findings shortly
posted by thecjm at 3:25 PM on May 8, 2012


I just was gifted a waffle maker. And it is awesome. I keep thinking about oatmeal in it. Like the bob's red mill old fashioned ones. Suggestions? Make oatmeal (I do water, salt, bit of sugar sub, cinnamon) and toss in? Or add eggs? Blend first? Baking powder? I'd prefer not to add any actual flour. And I don't mind if the only thing waffle about them is the shape. Your ideas!?
posted by atomicstone at 3:26 PM on May 8, 2012


Speaking of slightly different uses than expected, has anyone ever candied citrus peel in a slow cooker successfully?

As for Alton, I'm sure he has the knife skills to make mincing garlic a lot easier than for the average Joe. Personally I prefer to mince garlic even if it is finicky, because I get a more consistent flavor. Given that I cook mise en place (when I remember!) and do most of my chopping before I start, it's not like it's a problem to take an extra 3 minutes.

As for the garlic press, I'd buy one along with a host of other things that are even more potentially useful if I had about 5 more drawers in my kitchen.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:28 PM on May 8, 2012


Sweet potato and carmelized onion latke-waffles? Just throwing that out there, never tried it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:29 PM on May 8, 2012


So these waffle iron hash browns suffer from caramelized onion-style time dilation. 8-10 minutes at medium heat will not come close to cooking it through, much less getting it crispy on the outside. After 15 minutes on the iron and not nearly being done, I've just cranked it up to high.
posted by thecjm at 3:40 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just was gifted a waffle maker. And it is awesome. I keep thinking about oatmeal in it. Like the bob's red mill old fashioned ones. Suggestions? Make oatmeal (I do water, salt, bit of sugar sub, cinnamon) and toss in? Or add eggs? Blend first? Baking powder? I'd prefer not to add any actual flour. And I don't mind if the only thing waffle about them is the shape. Your ideas!?

Here's a recipe. It has you basically make coarse oatmeal flour right off the bat, but on the other hand it doesn't have you cook the oatmeal separately, either. I think if you cooked the oatmeal, let it cool a bit (so it didn't cook the eggs or curdle the milk), and then put the batter together it would work pretty similarly.
posted by jedicus at 3:50 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never got the "no uni-taskers" thing. For me, it's a question of how often I use the thing.

A bread-maker is pretty much a uni-tasker, but round here it can be used up to three times a day when friends and family are around.
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 3:56 PM on May 8, 2012


I've never got the "no uni-taskers" thing.

Yeah, I mean, what even is this? Does Alton Brown know that the only thing coming out of his sink faucet is water? OH NO BETTER GET RID OF THAT STUPID THING. Hey Alton Brown, your eyes can only be used for the sole purpose of seeing. I guess you'd better gouge them out! HERE USE MY LEMON ZESTER.



wow i have a lot of ~feelings about this i guess.
posted by elizardbits at 4:09 PM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


I have made this loaded hash brown waffle from a friend's blog and it was SO GOOD. Mmmmm, fried potatoes with cheeeeeeeese.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:12 PM on May 8, 2012


I'm making beef stew right the fuck now and I used a garlic press.


YEAH I WENT THERE.
posted by The Whelk at 4:19 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Beef stew?

You MONSTER.
posted by gauche at 4:29 PM on May 8, 2012


A turkey baster is great for doling out pancake batter. Use a cheese grater on cold or frozen butter to get to room temperature faster for baking. A sharp pizza cutter is great for chopping fresh herbs. You can use a piece of uncooked spaghetti to test a cake for doneness.

Also, drip a little olive oil on your garlic as you're mincing it -- the knife slides through much easier, and the garlic won't stick to everything.

Oh, and one of those little handheld office staple removers makes a great beer bottle opener (and a fun puppet!).

I think that's all I've got.
posted by argonauta at 4:30 PM on May 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


Pressure cookers make awesome cheesecake.
posted by emeiji at 5:02 PM on May 8, 2012


Put me firmly in the garlic press camp.

- fresh definitely beats pre-minced on taste to me
- smash and mince is messy and time consuming
- not-pealing before using the press is quicker and makes for easier cleanup
posted by Bort at 5:07 PM on May 8, 2012


I just had a glorious and thrilling vision of a pressure cooker with a CAKE button that, when pressed, would make a brief whirring sound before mysteriously producing a cheesecake from nothing.
posted by elizardbits at 5:09 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I suspect that the "no unitaskers" is a simplified-for-TV version of the rule that I've learned myself, which is that "I'll totally do X once I have Y" inevitably means "I'll never actually do X after all," whereas "I do X all the time, so I should buy Y" actually works.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:22 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


argonauta: "A turkey baster is great for doling out pancake batter. Use a cheese grater on cold or frozen butter to get to room temperature faster for baking. A sharp pizza cutter is great for chopping fresh herbs. You can use a piece of uncooked spaghetti to test a cake for doneness.

Also, drip a little olive oil on your garlic as you're mincing it -- the knife slides through much easier, and the garlic won't stick to everything.

Oh, and one of those little handheld office staple removers makes a great beer bottle opener (and a fun puppet!).

I think that's all I've got
"

Also, EVERYTHING THIS PERSON SAID OMG
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:23 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I read about sous vide cooking, where you cook your food at low temperatures for a long time, but I couldn't afford the sous vide machines, so I strap steaks to my body and, as I go about my day, my body heat slowly cooks them to a perfect medium-rare. It takes several days, and my coworkers complain that I smell like meat, but they are very impressed when I pull out a nicely cooked steak from under my armpit.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:39 PM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


They are only unitaskers if you lack imagination.
posted by Bovine Love at 5:58 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just was gifted a waffle maker.

I read that as I was just a gifted waffle maker and for a moment I imagined a world where some people have an innate talent for waffle-making and they use it to create unimaginably good waffles. I wanted to eat one.

I think that's a good reason to get good at home-cooking. It probably is possible to make a waffle beyond anything made in a restaurant, but that focus won't show up in restaurants because, really, why should a business work that hard to make waffles?

It's up to home cooks to make food that is better than any restaurant can make. Restaurants have some advantage, because they have fancier equipment, but hacking your home equipment could be a way around that.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:27 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and one of those little handheld office staple removers makes a great beer bottle opener (and a fun puppet!).

favorited because you too know the power of turning Stapley Joe into Cool Mister Alligator
posted by Greg Nog at 6:45 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have found that Alton's answers to problems are almost always wrong for me. But his identification of the problems is usually spot on. Whereas most cooks just have you blindly do something (I almost used the too-apropos cliche "follow a recipe") and leave you hanging when you run into problems.

Basically, I go to Alton for his attitude, not his answers. "No unitaskers" isn't a rule, it's a guideline.
posted by DU at 6:46 PM on May 8, 2012


I'm not a chef in any way, and I understand not liking Alton Brown or thinking he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about, but not only did he instill a love of cooking and a pretty decent repertoire of recipes in my brain, he also inspired me to lose the extra 50 lbs I was carrying around and keep it off for the last 2+ years, down to eating cans of sardines as a snack.

So yeah, I like the guy, even if "Alton is laughably wrong most of the time."

Which seems like a pretty stupid thing to say, unless you've cooked most of what he's presented on his show, and it turned out bad.
posted by Huck500 at 6:49 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


argonauta: "Use a cheese grater on cold or frozen butter to get to room temperature faster for baking."

Mind. Blown. Seriously, this is a fantastic tip. I usually slice it, but that doesn't work all that well most of the time.
posted by Night_owl at 6:59 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I must confess that my many Stapley Joes over the years have all shown a peculiar penchant for crooning "Never Gonna Let You Go" by Sergio Mendes, which I think disqualifies them from joining the ranks of Cool Mister Alligator with his Ferocious Iron Jaws of Death. But now I know that they are not alone, and perhaps there will even be more... and more.... and entertainment and cold beverages will be enjoyed by all.
posted by argonauta at 7:10 PM on May 8, 2012


beer bottle opener

I use a variation* of the cutlery method.

I actually really enjoy mincing garlic with a knife, and indeed having onion/garlic scented fingers. Guessing I am a member of rather perverse minority in that...


* Using the side of the knife/fork/spoon/ladle, and the finger fulcrum on the farside of the cap from the lifting. This has the added advantages that it can sometimes be quite painful (especially after the first couple of times) and causes the cap to fly off at a dangerous velocity.
posted by titus-g at 7:18 PM on May 8, 2012


Since this thread has turned into a bit of a referendum on Alton, I'll add my $.02...

I was a serious Brown adherent for years: painstakingly removing the silver skin from a whole tenderloin, carefully dripping olive oil into my hand-whisked emulsions, eschewing unitaskers and even keeping multiple types of oats, pastas, beans and milks (including dry!) on hand for their various applications. I gave an eye-roll at the turkey fryer rig (not that I would ever fry a turkey), and I allowed a pass at his homebrewing guffaws (because that is most certainly NOT what mashing is). But the one thing that finally prompted me to defect was when he lost weight. This is to suggest that skinny people (or even formerly fat people) can't be great cooks. But with his pounds he lost his sense of humor. From there on I felt he had somehow betrayed me, that I couldn't trust him anymore, that he no longer ate the food he made.
posted by slogger at 7:27 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bittman can be a bit too wishy-washy for my taste:

"Flatbread is one of the simplest and earliest foods know to man, and as such one of the most satisfying. All it requires are three basic ingredients: Flour, water, salt. If and how you use these is up to your whim. Use more flour for a thicker bread; less for a thin wafer. Use wheat flour if that's what you have on hand; white or whole wheat it's your choice. Or buckwheat--the decision is yours. If flour is not to your mood that day, feel no pressure to use it at all. Water may not be your only liquid choice. Milk--coconut or goat work equally well and to even use it or any other liquid is entirely your choice. Salt is just the first but not your only option for seasonings and if you wish to enjoy a flatbread where you have completely omitted all ingredients so you dine only on the mere concept of flatbread then that is entirely up to you."
posted by sourwookie at 7:33 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


And the most over-the-top Alton Brown preparation was his elaborate rig for making liquid smoke which required expensive gear plus hours of waiting in order to replace the 100% natural no preservative product found at the store for about $1.59.
posted by sourwookie at 7:39 PM on May 8, 2012


The no unitasker rule is a stupid and pernicious idea, and you'll note that notorious fussbudget Alton Brown says he's happy to go without an ice cream maker because he has liquid nitrogen on hand.

To me the no-unitasker thing is more hyperbole to make a point that needs to be made to a lot of people in the US: don't be seduced by specialty gadgets. I had a friend who bought a quesadilla maker, for Christ's sake. Dude already owned a pan and stove and knives. His show's for people who don't know how to cook and think that gadgets make it easier or better, when most of that stuff will clutter up your place needlessly.

As to liquid nitrogen, it's in "Modernist Cuisine" and some other resources too, and I'm certain he's not using it just for ice cream. The thing is, freezers are great for keeping food frozen, but horrible at freezing thawed stuff (too slow, ice crystals get too big, food gets more damaged in the freezing process). So the guys who are hardcore about this stuff, yeah, keep LN around, because the end result is way better, with meat especially. I'm toying with the idea of scoring some myself just to experiment with.

This is to suggest that skinny people (or even formerly fat people) can't be great cooks.

I 'm not sure he meant it to suggest anything. I'm pretty sure it was just that he was getting obese and wanted to take control of the situation so he could stay healthy.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:51 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huck500: he also inspired me to lose the extra 50 lbs I was carrying around and keep it off for the last 2+ years, down to eating cans of sardines as a snack.

Just had one of Alton's sardine & avocado sandwiches tonight. SO GOOD.

Also, re: stick blenders: Do you like mayo? Because you're missing out on the easiest homemade mayo ever if you don't have a stick blender. Much easier than the slow drizzle method, much tastier, saves you money - don't want to buy a whole thing of thousand island that's destined to rot in the fridge after a couple of reubens? Ditto tartar sauce. Though you kinda run the risk of going overboard on mayo experimentation when it's that quick to make (anchovy tarragon mayo on thick cut fries is the beeeest).
posted by jason_steakums at 8:02 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


don't be seduced by specialty gadgets

YES I CONCUR with this aspect of the complaint, because it is the truest true that ever truthed. I had a late night breakdown a while back over the chance viewing of some godawful infomercial for some inane kitchen gadget which cracks eggs for you. I could understand if this was marketed specifically towards people with limited mobility, or with advanced arthritis in their hands, or what have you. But no. The commercial featured people blithely cooking all manner of delightful foods, and then being suddenly and dramatically shocked and dismayed at the presence of eggshell bits in their meals. OH THE HUMANITY.

This glorious life-affirming machine also came with some terrifying device which appears to scramble an egg INSIDE ITS OWN SHELL. Because, as everyone knows, the only thing harder than actually cracking an egg is sticking a fork into the bowl of raw egg and stirring it about for 5 seconds. HOW DID MANKIND SURVIVE BEFORE THESE MAGNIFICENT INVENTIONS? WE MUST HAVE BEEN LYING NAKED IN THE GUTTER SMEARED WITH FECES AND GARBAGE, WEEPING WITH CONFUSED TERROR.

~feelings
posted by elizardbits at 8:09 PM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


You know what kitchen tool I hate? Salad spinners. It's impossible to get the last shard of lettuce cleaned off, and the dishwasher will make the shards into near-permanent decals. And they take up a huge amount of cabinet space. We were well pleased when we ridded ourselves of the salad spinner, and got one of those old fashioned wire mesh baskets. I bring the greens outside and practice Pete Townshend windmills.
posted by bendybendy at 8:11 PM on May 8, 2012


This glorious life-affirming machine also came with some terrifying device which appears to scramble an egg INSIDE ITS OWN SHELL. Because, as everyone knows, the only thing harder than actually cracking an egg is sticking a fork into the bowl of raw egg and stirring it about for 5 seconds.

elizardbits, I have a video for you.
posted by gauche at 8:16 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


sourwookie: "Bittman can be a bit too wishy-washy for my taste: "snip""

You really don't think this is him being funny? Skip the flour? I laughed out loud when I read that. Some useful advice (about adding milk, other flavorings) with a healthy dose of humor. Bittman isn't the end-all be-all, but I don't think this is the example to criticize him on.

middleclasstool: "This is to suggest that skinny people (or even formerly fat people) can't be great cooks.

I 'm not sure he meant it to suggest anything. I'm pretty sure it was just that he was getting obese and wanted to take control of the situation so he could stay healthy.
"

I think this original comment was a typo. I think what slogger meant was, "This is not to suggest..."
posted by Night_owl at 8:34 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes indeed it was a typo. Sorry!
posted by slogger at 8:45 PM on May 8, 2012


I never got the impression eating the food was a huge priority for Brown anyway.
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 PM on May 8, 2012


Night_owl: That was me writing a parody of Bittman.
posted by sourwookie at 8:55 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a video yt for you.

why you do this
posted by elizardbits at 9:09 PM on May 8, 2012


there are lots of other ways to reuse common kitchen gadgets

A deep fat fryer makes decent coffee and poaches decent eggs.
A coffee maker can poach a decent egg, but is not good at deep frying.
An egg poacher is neither good at deep frying nor at making coffee.
∴ If you have to get one appliance, get a deep fat fryer.

Source: Ikke gjør dette hjemme Episode 1
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:06 PM on May 8, 2012


I think every cook has one silly gadget that does one thing only that they absolutely love. Mine is a stupid widget that slices open a mango into two halves and a pit. Why do I like it? I love mangos and I like to slice them after the skin is pared off. I fear cutting into that slippery thing like I fear cutting my fingers off in the table saw.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:27 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


silly gadget that does one thing only that they absolutely love.

I am a recent convert to the cult of the orange peeler; though, like the first commenter on Amazon, I am yet a novitiate and have not yet mastered The Technique of Two Peelers.

I guess the UK equivalent of the waffle iron would be the toastie maker: mine makes perfect French toast (admittedly not a million miles from its original purpose).
posted by titus-g at 2:53 AM on May 9, 2012


elizardbits, I always liked the pancake flipper infomercial, where somehow the person flipping pancakes accidentally flipped them onto the ceiling.
posted by jeather at 4:14 AM on May 9, 2012


The purpose of Good Eats is to educate. Some episodes show you how to cook a particular dish, other episodes show you how an ingredient can be used, and some episodes show you how to use a piece of common (or sometimes uncommon) kitchen equipment. It's almost always leavened with science and history, and the techniques are a combination of theory and practice.

Some of his episodes are aimed at the new cook, and some of his episodes are aimed at people who are comfortable in the kitchen who want to make something complicated or tricky for the joy of making something complicated or tricky. The basics episodes are interesting to experienced cooks because of the history and science and the occasional tip, and the advanced episodes are interesting to the newbies for much the same reason - plus it gives them a goal to shoot for.

No Unitaskers - there's a backlash to this, but when Good Eats started in the late '90s, as home cooks were rediscovering the joys of cookery as an art and a pastime, useless kitchen gadgets were EVERYWHERE. I mean, drawers were filled to overflowing with useless, poorly made crap, designed to do one thing and poorly, and it became hard to figure out what you really needed. No Unitaskers shows you how to improvise with the tools at hand, to the point of using hardware and craft items in places, and it encourages you to invest in commonly used kitchen items of higher quality instead. Even Alton admits to owning and using the occasional unitasker - quite frequently, actually - but the point remains: you don't need to own a zillion gadgets to cook, and you should spend your money on quality tools that can be used for a variety of purposes.`
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:24 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know what kitchen tool I hate? Salad spinners.

That's actually one of my most-used kitchen tools, although I never use it for salad. Anything that needs to be dry, though, it's killer.
posted by Huck500 at 10:00 AM on May 9, 2012


I clicked some links from the caramelized onion thing, which lead me to a recipe for dulche de leche in the microwave. Basically just microwave sweetened condensed milk on low power for 15-20 minutes, stopping to stir every couple minutes. I let it cook until it was the color and texture of caramel, waited for it to cool off a bit, rolled it into balls, and let it cool in the fridge. SO GOOD.
posted by miyabo at 2:59 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


rolled it into balls

misread this as "rolled it on my balls"

laughed

cried

may never recover
posted by elizardbits at 6:37 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


So speaking of dulce de leche, apparently it's a thing to make it by boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for, like, hours?

Because holy shit scary.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:11 PM on May 9, 2012


waffle iron Kartoffelpuffer - sucess!!!

here's how I did it:

peeled and grated a bunch of potatoes
squeezed out the extra water
mixed in salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, paprika, oregano
microwaved for 5 minutes to pre-cook the potatoes
spread a thin layer of the mixture in the heated iron brushed with olive oil
cooked at medium-high for 10 - 15 minutes, until mostly browned.

sooo tasty. not that I got to eat much of it, as my rotten boyfriend pilfered half of mine.
he will pay.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:00 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


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